Despite the good chances of recovery offered by a stent implant, the stent itself can also cause side effects. 10 to 20% of all patients treated for clogged arteries will experience a closing of the same artery, called stenosis, within a year of primary angioplasty.
Research has been carried out to develop different approaches to preventing stent-induced stenosis. Drug-eluting stents, which are stents releasing chemicals that halt vessel cell proliferation, and dissolving stents are among the most successful technological developments of the last decade. However, some arteries still become clogged.
The third way
In 2012, a European consortium of private companies and universities led by the EXPLORA SRL, a high-tech company based in Rome, Italy, started developing an innovative technological approach to stent stroked patients. The idea, in fact, combines and redefines the latest innovations in the field from a different angle.
If it works then why should it dissolve?
THEGRAIL stent technology substitutes the rigid stent with a soft flexible scaffold that can be absorbed by the body without leaving residues. “A dissolving stent is definitely less invasive than having a permanent, foreign body inside our blood vessels”, says Davide De Lucrezia, CEO of Explora “limiting rejection reactions over time. But we did not stop here. We wanted to develop a life-saving therapy able to heal vessel damage, not only scaffolding the vessels.”
Against the current
While global research focuses on inhibiting cell proliferation in stented arteries, THEGRAIL project developed a stent designed to enhance it. “This newly developed stent is made of a bio-active tissue that regenerates the artery walls thanks to its porous structure”. On placing the stent, new vessel cells start proliferating on its surface, ultimately plating the scaffold.
“Within a few weeks our stent is covered by new cells and reabsorbed. What is left is only a physiologically healthy and functioning blood vessel”, concludes Dr Francesco Serino, Scientific Director of the project. “THEGRAIL stent doesn’t simply offer an alternative to common angioplasty, but new life after a stroke!”
Read more about the THEGRAIL on the project page of HorizonHealth.eu.